Fire­fight­ers en­cour­age prac­tic­ing fire drills

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

Dur­ing Fire Pre­ven­tion Week, fire­fight­ers are en­cour­ag­ing fam­i­lies to prac­tice a fire drill at their home.

COATESVILLE >> Dur­ing Fire Pre­ven­tion Week, fire­fight­ers are en­cour­ag­ing fam­i­lies to prac­tice a fire drill at their home.

Coatesville area fire­fight­ers noted that sta­tis­tics show that one in five par­ents reg­u­larly prac­tices fire es­cape plans at home, and only half of par­ents re­port that their chil­dren know what to do in the event of a fire. Yet, home fires are the big­gest disaster threat fac­ing Amer­i­can fam­i­lies to­day, fire­fight­ers said, with nine in 10 struc­ture fires oc­cur­ring in the home and more than eight in 10 fire-re­lated deaths re­sult­ing from home fires.

To raise aware­ness of this is­sue and en­cour­age fam­i­lies to be more pre­pared when it comes to fire safety, Coatesville IAFF Lo­cal 3790 Fire­fight­ers have part­nered with Na­tion­wide’s Make Safe Hap­pen pro­gram to launch a new na­tional ob­ser­vance day – Home Fire Drill Day – on Oct. 15. Home Fire Drill Day will oc­cur on the last day of the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion’s (NFPA) Fire Pre­ven­tion Week which runs through Satur­day.

Coatesville IAFF Lo­cal 3790 Fire­fight­ers noted this is the first time that like-minded par­ties from the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor are col­lab­o­rat­ing on this sin­gle, life-sav­ing call to ac­tion. Home Fire Drill Day tips in­clude:

• Pre­pare for the prac­tice by draw­ing out a plan based on the ex­its around the home.

• Pick a fam­ily safety spot that’s near your home and a safe dis­tance away.

• Test your smoke alarms with your kids so they know what the beep sounds like.

• For chil­dren un­der 6, as­sign an adult to help them.

• Use a timer to en­sure ev­ery­one is at the safety spot in two min­utes or less, this is how much time a fam­ily has to safely exit the house in the event of a fire.

“When a fire hap­pens at home, chil­dren can be­come fright­ened and hide,” said Bat­tal­ion Chief Jim Lentz, and sec­re­tary of IAFF L-3790. “It is our hope that by prac­tic­ing for these emer­gen­cies, by ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren, we can save lives and even have a lit­tle fun while do­ing it.”

Fire­fight­ers said that by na­ture, sim­u­lat­ing an emer­gency like a fire drill can be scary, but by in­fus­ing fun into the at-home prac­tice, par­ents can help their chil­dren feel safer should a fire ac­tu­ally hap­pen.

With the help of ex­pert part­ners, Na­tion­wide’s Make Safe Hap­pen pro­gram has de­vel­oped a se­ries of in­ter­ac­tive fire drill games avail­able at www.HomeFireDril­ that par­ents can play with their chil­dren – from rac­ing the clock, to prac­tic­ing in the dark or to crawl­ing out of the house as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Coatesville fire­fight­ers en­cour­age ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in “Home Fire Drill Day” on Satur­day and to make it an an­nual tra­di­tion.

Ad­di­tion­ally, smoke de­tec­tors are re­quired in ev­ery sin­gle and mul­ti­fam­ily dwelling unit. De­tec­tors are re­quired on ev­ery floor, in ev­ery bed­room and out­side the bed­rooms of the home. Car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tors are also rec­om­mended and should be in­stalled in an area near the bed­rooms of a house.

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